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Full text of "Byzantine Churches In Constantinople"

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in        THE CHURCH OF SSŤ SERGIUS AND BACCHUS       75
Here the columns are smaller than those below, and are bound together by arches Instead of by an architrave- Their capitals represent the type known as the c Pseudo-Ionic' or cushion capital, in view of its broad head. It appears appropriately here as the form of capital required to carry the impost of an arch upon a capital. At one time, indeed, that demand was met by placing upon the capital a distinct block of stone, a fragment, so to speak, of the horizontal architrave. It is the device adopted in San Vitale at Ravenna, S. Demetrius of Salonica, and elsewhere, but never it would seem in Constantinople, except in the underground cisterns of the city. It was, however, too inartistic to endure, and eventually was superseded by capitals with a broad flattened head on which the wide impost of an arch could rest securely.1
A free form of acanthus, deeply undercut on the face towards the central area of the churchs covers the capitals, and in the centre of that face, on all the capitals except the eighth (counting from the north-east) is carved the monogram of the title Basileus, or of Justinian, or of Theodora.
In the south side of the gallery stand two columns corresponding to the two columns in the aisle below. They are poor in design and not original. The western capital is c Pseudo-Ionic,7 2 with a plain cross on the northern face. The eastern capital is in the basket form with roundels on the four faces. Two additional columns are found in the western portion of the gallery. They are of verd antique and larger than the other columns in this story of the church, and have sunk crosses in them. The splendour of the interior decoration has certainly been dimmed, for the walls of the edifice once gleamed with marbles and glittered with mosaics. c By the sheen of its
1  *Pulvins,* says Rivoira (Lombardk Architecture^ p. n, English translation), * serve the purpose  of  providing  the  springers of  the  arches   with   a   base corresponding to the wall which they carry, while allowing the support beneath to be much slighter without injuring the stability of the structure/
2  Rivoira, ut supra, p. 62 :   * The volutes in the Pseudo-Ionic capital intended to conceal the abruptness of the transition from the square of the pulvin to the round."